Intel delay could boost iPad sales
Software holdups might keep the chip-maker from releasing a full slate of Windows 8 tablets in time for the holidays.
According to Bloomberg, Intel had hoped to develop software for a new processor -- codenamed Clover Trail -- that would conserve battery life in Windows 8-based tablets. The company has been unsuccessful in this goal, leading to a delay of some unspecified devices.
It is not known how quickly Intel will resolve the issues plaguing its new processor, or if it has an alternative in development. Whatever the case, this delay is expected to give Apple (AAPL) -- which uses Intel processors in many of its products, but not in the iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch -- another advantage in the tablet space.
Thus far, Apple has sold more than 80 million iPads worldwide. This number includes the first and second-generation devices, as well as the latest iPad, which arrived at retail last March.
Apple has been rumored to be developing a smaller tablet, presumably titled the iPad Mini, for release before the end of the year. Those rumors have yet to materialize into a definitive product.
The Mac maker all but quashed those rumors when it unveiled the new iPod Touch, which features a starting price of $299. Consumers can currently purchase the old iPod Touch for $199. They can also purchase the iPad 2 for $399 and the third-generation iPad for $499. As such, Apple is believed to have left no room for an iPad Mini.
The tech giant received some unexpected competition last month when Amazon (AMZN) and Barnes & Noble (BKS) unveiled multiple new tablets that range from seven to nine inches in size. These announcements followed a rumor that claimed Microsoft (MSFT) would charge as little as $199 for Surface, the company's first tablet. Microsoft has yet to announce the price and release date for the device, which is expected to ship in time for the October 26 arrival of Windows 8.
Analysts have argued over the validity of the rumor, stating that it would be impossible for Microsoft to charge $199 without taking a loss. Others believe that Microsoft will discount the device to those who purchase a subscription to one of its services.
At $199, Surface would be much cheaper than the iPad. However, it would not be the least expensive tablet available.
Among the major manufacturers, Amazon currently offers the cheapest tablet -- the $159 Kindle Fire. The HD model sells for $40 more. Both come pre-loaded with advertisements that can be eliminated for an additional $15.
Barnes & Noble, which will sell its nine-inch Nook HD+ for $269, has used Amazon's shortcoming to promote its own devices. The bookseller created multiple product comparison pages to highlight the positive differences between the Nook tablets and its competitors.
While Intel may be unable to produce a large number of Windows 8 tablets this fall, the company will still play a role in the initial launch. The pro version of Surface, which is expected to be released in December or January, will feature a Core i5 processor from Intel.
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"While Intel may be unable to produce a large number of Windows 8 tablets this fall"
Interesting story since Intel doesn't make any Windows 8 devices but they have demonstrated the Atom Clover Trail power management features already. Great anti-WQintel FUD for pro Apple fans.
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